It’s been quite a while since I’ve covered mobile games here at Noisy Pixel, but when Square Enix announced Dragon Quest Champions, my curiosity was immediately piqued. After all, this battle royale came shortly after Final Fantasy VII: First Soldier failed to meet expectations and met an untimely demise. So let us dive into this Closed Beta and see if it has a chance.
Dragon Quest Champions’ story begins by telling you the world is at peace after the incredible feats of the Luminary. Yeah, right. A world at peace? In Dragon Quest? It sounds crazy at first, but that’s precisely the premise.
To honor the feats of said hero, they’ve devised the Heroic Martial Arts Tournaments, where 50 participants will pit it out against one another, and only one will be victorious. Also known as… it’s so peaceful that we’re bored, so let’s kill each other!
Immediately upon starting, your first task will be to create your avatar and type in your name. To unlock Matchmaking Mode, you must at least finish the entirety of Chapter 1 and a little of Chapter 2 until you get the Tournament Bangle key item from Story Mode. This also serves as a tutorial to get used to the gameplay mechanics and how battles work.
Furthermore, there are also several single-player quests that you can play, such as experience and gold quests. Although, you’ll probably spend most of your time in the Tournament mode anyway, as that’s this title’s main selling point, which brings me to perhaps one of the issues I’ve had, which is the graphical quality. I noticed texture popping and lagging even at the highest preset and framerate. Still, I can’t blame it, given that I’m thousands of miles away from the Japanese servers and that this is only the first Beta.
But let’s get to what’s arguably the main selling point of Dragon Quest Champions: the Matchmaking Mode. Each match lasts around 20 minutes or so, with one or two random events occurring, such as a group of Metal Slimes randomly appearing in healing circles that allow you to recover. And the “star” of the show is the Demon’s Vortex, an ominous aura that slowly expands, making the playable area smaller.
Various items can be collected around the map, such as Defense and Attack orbs that raise the titular stats and a Spirit Fruit, which increases your Max HP and MP. Additionally, defeating a player will give you all their collected status boosts and items. And enemies can be fought against in the overworld, granting some of the previously mentioned drops.
Now so far, what I’ve described just personally sounds like it’s Fortnite but with a Dragon Quest skin attached to it, but that’s about where the similarities end, and that’s because battles are real-time combat with turn-based elements. You can take however long you want with an enemy or player, but even inside that battle, the clock continues to tick. This can lead to two outcomes: Either you both get swallowed by the Demon’s Vortex and perish as your HP goes to 0, or someone else invades the battle.
The developers have implemented a clever solution because Dragon Quest is beloved for its turn-based combat. Hence, it’s neat to see how they’ve translated such an intricate battle system. When someone invades, you’re given two sets of targets, meaning that an AOE skill, for example, will only target one group or the other, and the same applies to your opponents, creating this amusing “battle triangle” where only one person will come out of it alive.
To obtain new weapons and armor, you either get them by clearing the different chapters from Story Mode or by spending Gems to obtain a random weapon from the Gacha. And before you start to raise those pitchforks, it’s more forgiving than you think.
Yes, there is the potential for a player to spend hundreds of dollars to obtain the best weapon ever, but even without the oh-so-powerful weapons, I still managed to score 1st place multiple times. Still, of course, this will depend on balancing those weapons once the official release comes around.
I had a lot of fun with Dragon Quest Champions. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the developers managed to translate the classic combat of Dragon Quest into a battle royale that is honestly addicting to play. Of course, it does have its shortcomings, and I could sit here rambling on and on about how it can be tweaked, but I certainly will be praying that maybe, just maybe, Square Enix doesn’t have to pull the plug barely a year after its release.
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